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Interviews with Charlie Hughes and Jay Amestoy
Submitted by SuperUser on Tuesday, January 7, 2003 - 11:40pm

We put a call out for questions to ask Mazda Execs last week, and we received a fair number of responses, more than enough to fill a 10 minute interview with Charlie Hughes, president of MNAO and Jay Amestoy VP of Public Affairs.


Having driven the RX-8, what is your response when an enthusiast asks you “what does it feel like?”

(Charlie) It is deceptively fast. We did a comparison test at Willowsprings Raceway between the RX-8 and some of the best cars out today, including the 350Z. I took the Z out for a few laps, it was nose heavy, plunging down when going into corners. I then took the RX-8 out on the track, and within a ½ lap, I felt as if I had owned it for five years. 9,000 rpm comes up very fast. When you shift, your down at 5500 or so, then back up at 9,000 again. There is no vibrations to tell you this, only the buzzing from the dash. From 3200 to 9000 rpm, the torque curve is virtually flat, and the engine just wants to spin like crazy. Make no doubt about it, this is a sports car. The engine is smooth, the whole powerplant package weighs 80 lbs less than the 3rd gen RX-7, it sits lower and further back.


What about the rumors about a 4th generation RX-7?


(Charlie)No comment. We are putting all our effort into the launch of the RX-8 right now.


And the rumors of a larger width'd rotor for the RENESIS?


(Charlie)Again, no comment. The two levels of performance in the RX-8 are what we are focusing on right now.


And a MazdaSpeed model?


(Charlie)No comment (with a huge smile on his face)


The same goes for turbo charging?


(Charlie)Correct, No comment.


What about the availability of th RENESIS for purchase as a crate motor, a complete package that can be installed into older RX-7s?


(Jay) Well, as you know the Star Mazda Series is basically this, however, for the first few years all engines produced will be used up directly in the RX-8's. There will probably not be any extras to have a program like this, for a while at least.


One reader asks if Racingbeat was involved with the development of the RX-8, or MazdaSpeed RX-8?


(Charlie)Not with the RX-8, no. And as for the MazdaSpeed program, they did a great job with the Protege MP3, and MazdaSpeed Protege. But nothing yet with a RX-8.


So what about the launch? TV Commercials and such


(Charlie)Well, as you are aware, the Internet marketing has started. We have started a few spots reintroducing the Rotary on channels like SpeedChannel. Early this summer we will have the first RX-8 commercials, and go from there. But the Internet is the focus right now, with the pre-order campaign being number 1.


My readers also would like to know about other body styles of the RX-8, like a convertible, or station wagon


(Charlie) A station wagon?!?! (I displayed a post and photochopped pictures from RX-8 forum.com, they laugh out loud) No...


(Jay)There was the MX SportsTourer concept that was show about the same time as the RX-Evolv concept, but there are no plans to make a wagon RX-8. As for a convertible, it is too early to tell right now if that is feasible.


What of the effect the Internet and enthusiasts had on the design changes made to the RX-8, from the RX-Evolv.


(Charlie) Enthusiasts allowed Mazda to be Mazda. They kept working with the concept, as input came in from the Internet, and focus groups, through the folks in R&D, who used the net to keep tabs on current thought. There was so much of a strong interest in the vehicle from the beginning, we knew we had to get it right.


Charlie and Jay, thank you for your time

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subject:
no comment
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Maybe the standard answer the journalists should have given the mazda excecutives when they invited them to do a short pre test of the rx8 in japan and later asked for their thoughs on the car to try and gauge thir response the standard answer should have been (NO COMMENT)
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subject:
Follow on vehicles
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Look everyone,

I understand why Charlie and other top company execs do not, or can not talk about anything at this point that could potentially impact RX-8 sales. What if Charlie said, "oh yes... we're working on a 206 kW engine that will be known as the 14C which will power a 2500 pound next Generation RX-7 (FE version) available in 2006. Not only would potential RX-8 sales be impacted, but you'd totally show your hand to the competition (Nissan in particuar) who've done a pretty darn good job recently at going after the sportscar enthusiast market. I totally understand "no comment." Based on the question about when crate or spare Renesis engines might be available, I'm more concerned at this point whether Mazda will be able to meet demand. We'll see. It's going to get very exciting very soon!!!!!!!
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subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Hi,

I will like to know if Mazda will include an option for the RX-8 to have a radio system with the XM Satellite radio tuner.

Thank you,

Gonzalo
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subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
One question I would have asked during that interview... Is Mazda really going to produce a Miata coupe with a smeller version of the Renesis engine? Also, will it be designed for a good power-to-weight ratio giving it a 0-60 approximately 7 seconds, and a little higher mpg than the RX-8?
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subject:
Thanks for asking the questions...
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
I want to thank the person at rotarynews.com ( sorry, don't know your name ) who asked execs these questions on our behalf.

Sven
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subject:
Disappointed
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Thanks for taking the time to interview these two guys. However, it was really a waste of time. All of the "no comments" came back on the questions we would really like answered.
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subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
The next time you have a chance to talk to Mazda could you please have them about a contradiction in their press release.
Page 27 "The chief advantage of this layout is that it allows elimination of intake/exhaust port timing overlap. This ensures that the exhaust gas is not retained and carried over to the next intake cycle"
Page 28 "With the previous engine, unburned gases (hydrocarbons) were voided from the combustion chamber via the peripheral port. With the new side exhaust ports of the RENESIS, unburned gases are retained for burning in the next combustion cycle"
Which is right?
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